It is often said that riding motorbikes is very dangerous, and that driving a car is a far safer option. This is a highly contentious issue, however there are merits to both sides of the argument. Here are a few key points to consider in the car vs motorbike debate.
While driving a car, your degree of visibility is often reliant on the make, model and styling of your vehicle. Vans, 4WD’s and trucks have far greater visibility than cars which are lower to the road. When riding a motorbike, the barriers to your vision are far less than in a car, and the riding position instantly gives you an advantage when it comes to visibility. This allows a motorbike rider to assess and react to a potentially dangerous situation in a shorter time than someone in a car with poor visibility.
However, the flipside to this for bike riders is that most car drivers do not see motorbikes. Even when taking great care not to follow in blind spots, every motorcyclist will have many instances of cars pulling out without having seen them. Wearing high visibility clothing and riding gear can help, but has not been proven to significantly reduce crashes caused by other road users. The potential for accidents based purely on other drivers is definitely a significant daily risk for motorbike riders.
Unfortunately, road design is aimed towards four wheeled vehicles, and often produces a number of risks for motorbikes. Slippery paint sections spanning the width of the road become like ice when wet, and can be fatal when positioned either before or after the apex of corner. Potholes, man-hole covers, debris, and gravel are all potential threats that a rider must be constantly vigilant of. When driving in a car, while these are all considerations, it is not nearly as hazardous as when riding a motorbike.
In an Accident
When an accident situation occurs, there are a range of factors that determine how safe the rider/driver will be. For motorcyclists, riding in all of the correct gear is essential, as it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Ideally, riders should wear a full leather suit with stitched in armour, a back protector, full-length boots with in built ankle support, an approved full-face helmet and full gauntlet gloves with reinforced knuckled and palm protection. Unfortunately many riders choose comfort over safety, and ride in less than ideal gear.
When you crash a motorbike, as long as there are no solid objects to cause impact, most of the time a rider wearing correct safety gear will sustain minor injuries. However road side objects such as guard rails, light posts, signs and fences can all prove fatal for a rider thrown from their bike at speed. When a car crashes, the crumple zones, air bags and seat belts have all been stringently designed to reduce the injury to the occupants. While fatality can still occur, the injuries sustained in a similar crash between motorbike and car will be far less for the occupants of the car than the rider of the motorbike.
In conclusion, it can be seen that there are a range of factors which make motorbikes more dangerous than a car. This is not due to the nature of motorbikes themselves, but more to the conditions of the roads, lack of driver/rider education, and the greater risk of injury during a crash.
Written by Kobe Brooke
Kobe is a motor enthusiast who also works in a car dealer. He specialises in used cars for sale in NSW, Australia. He also organizes regular driver meet-up in his local area.